VOTING BY MAIL / DROP BOX
You are considered to be Voting by Mail however you turn in your Vote By Mail ballot, including in a Drop Box.
in 2020, many voters chose to vote by mail in order to avoid potential Covid exposure. If you applied in 2020 for permanent mail-in ballots, you should be receiving a communication from Voter Services asking you to verify for 2021.
• For emergency absentee voting for those unexpectedly unable to apply on time or go to the polls as planned, see here.
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WILL BE UPDATED AS THE COUNTY ISSUES INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE MAY 2021 PRIMARY.
Questions? Please call the Chester County Democratic Office at 610-692-5811.
NOT SURE WHERE YOU STAND IN THE PROCESS?
If you have applied for your ballot online and included an e-mail address, you will receive notifications when your:
• application is processed
• ballot is sent
• voted ballot is received by Voter Services
You can also check your status here. The “Status” column can show four different cases:
• No Record means you haven’t applied yet or that your ballot has yet to be processed. It may take up to 10-14 business days from the time you submit your application for processing.
• Pending means your application was received and approved, but that your ballot has not been mailed yet.
• Processed means your application was received and approved, and your ballot has been mailed.
• Vote Recorded means Voter Services has received your ballot and recorded your vote.
Or you can try the Chesco site here after 5 full days have gone by since you submitted the ballot, or call Voter Services at 610-344-6410.
If your mail-in ballot did not arrive, or was damaged, or you have been notified that it was incorrect: through the end of Election Day, please report to Voter Services or a Satellite Office when the office is open to get your situation resolved. Bring government-issued photo ID and, if you have one, your damaged ballot.
FILLING OUT YOUR BALLOT
When you are filling out the ballot, be sure to follow instructions precisely. Use a ballpoint pen with black or dark blue ink.
Pennsylvania no longer has straight party voting. You must vote for every office individually. All races are important! Please vote your whole ballot. Do your homework online (one of the advantages of voting by mail: you can check the internet as you vote).
You have to return 3 items (see what they look like in this PADems video, source of image of completed back of outside envelope).
1) The completed ballot inside…
2) The inner “secrecy” envelope* labeled OFFICIAL ELECTION BALLOT (do not write anything on it; seal it) inside…
3) The outer envelope* (which you have filled out on the back, with the name under which you are registered to vote, signed, and sealed.** You need a witness only if you had help filling out the ballot.
* According to Chesco Voter Services: If you fail to enclose the inner envelope, your vote will not count. But if you realize you have lost the inner envelope, Voter Services says you can replace it with any sealed envelope (with no personal info on it). If you seal your ballot in the outer envelope and then realize you did not include the inner envelope, you must request a new ballot or vote in person, as a ballot whose envelope that has been opened and resealed will not be counted.
** Sign as usual, preferably as when you last signed a voter registration form
DELIVERING YOUR BALLOT IN PERSON
There should be little or no wait if you drop off your ballot in its 2 envelopes yourself in person at Voter Services, 601 Westtown Rd, Suite 150, West Chester, PA 19380. Take mask and ID in case needed.
You can drop your ballot off at a public library designated as a satellite office or drop box location (locations and hours to be announced later). Take mask and ID.
No one else can drop off your ballot UNLESS you have a disability that prevents you from doing it in person AND you fill out this form: Authorize-Designated-Agent-for-Mail-in-or-Absentee-Ballot
You cannot drop off a mail-in ballot at your voting location on election day.
IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE YOUR BALLOT IN TIME, LOST OR DAMAGED IT, OR JUST AREN’T SURE
If you still have your mail ballot it is better to use a drop box. But you can take it to your polling place on election day and ask for it to be voided (the only option on this page that does not count as voting by mail). If you take the full packet including the 2 envelopes, then a regular ballot will be issued to you. If you don’t bring the needed parts, then you can vote provisionally (less desirable). Take ID just in case.
If you received your ballot but lost or spoiled it or it contains errors, you can get a replacement at Voter Services.
If you aren’t sure if you mailed your ballot in time and did not drop it off, you can also go to your polling place on election day. If the County did receive your mail-in ballot on time, that will count. If not, ask to vote in person.
If you qualify as an absentee voter, you must vote by absentee ballot. You will need to indicate your reason, either
• I will be absent from my municipality
• I have an illness or physical disability
Otherwise, the process is the same as for mail-in voting.
There is also a provision for emergency absentee voting if unexpected circumstances prevented you from applying for a regular absentee or mail-in ballot or going to the polls as planned. See more info here.
THANK YOU FOR VOTING!
When you follow a link to the PA Department of State for voting info you will see the image below. Mail box image at the top by Phillip Pessar from Wikimedia Commons.